The Mercenaries is a minigame in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6, and functions as the entirety of the spinoff title Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. The exact gameplay and goal of each iteration differs, although it mostly involves getting a highscore by killing as many enemies as possible within a time limit.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
The first namesakes appearance of the minigame originates from The Mercenaries - Operation: Mad Jackal in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The titled referred the minigame's playable characters (mercenaries hired by Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service) and the name of their mission. The minigame is unlocked by completing the maingame in initial releases but it is already available in later versions. The gameplay involved traveling through a section of Raccoon City from the maingame while under a time limit. Defeating enemies and saving civilians would earn the player bonus time, points, and items. Each character had their own unique set of starting weapons and items.
Resident Evil 4
The name of the game that appears in Resident Evil 4 is simply called The Mercenaries. This minigame is much more arcade like than its previous appearance and is unlocked by completing the main game. The object of the game is to kill enemies and earn points for a high score before the evacuation chopper arrives in the allotted time (the scenario is made up and gives the impression the player is now a mercenary). Killing a normal enemy earns the player 300 points, while boss enemies unique to each stage can earn several thousand points. Killing enemies quickly in a row results in combos which gives much more points. Players could increase their sessions play time by picking up "Time Extension" bonuses. There are five playable characters all with unique attributes, weapons and items, and melee attacks.
Resident Evil 5
The minigame featured in Resident Evil 5 (also known simply as The Mercenaries) plays very similar to the Resident Evil 4 version but with a few key differences. The goal is still to amass as many points as possible in the limited time period. It is also unlocked by completing the main game.
This version still features a time limit but time pick ups are now in the form of time crystals which are activated performing a melee attack on them. Even more importantly, players are now awarded 5 seconds to the timer when killing an enemy with a melee attack. Each character also can be played in different outfits and each outfit has a different set of weapons and items but retain the same melee attacks and attributes.
There is now local and on-line co-op added. Playing with a partner increases the difficulty of the session to balance out the gameplay. The game also supports leaderboards.
No Mercy is an alternate The Mercenaries mode that is exclusive to the PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions of Resident Evil 5. In this mode, there is a great change in enemies: not only are there 400 enemies instead of 150 (an exception being the Village stage because of the Kipepeo), but also, there can be around 40 enemies in the stage at once, and the game features more parasitic enemies (Cephalo, Kipepeo and Duvalia). The first miniboss spawn will be as normal, but after that, the amount of boss enemies that spawn will be doubled. However, to compensate for the overwhelming number of hostiles on screen, Majini are much weaker than usual. There are also at least 4 Rocket launchers per stage. It is only available when playing alone.
The Mercenaries Reunion
The Mercenaries Reunion is an alternate version and separate version of the The Mercenaries that was later added to Resident Evil 5 via downloadable content. The gamemode features a different set of characters and costumes, notably Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton. The gameplay and stages are the same however the enemies and spawn patterns have been changed. Characters also have alternate and more powerful melee attacks depending on their partner; for example, if Sheva is paired up with Excella or Josh, her Impale will be replaced by Double Fang which is stronger and hits twice.
The Mercenaries United
The Mercenaries United is available in the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch releases of Resident Evil 5. It is a combination of the game's The Mercenaries and The Mercenaries Reunion. All characters and stages from both modes can be selected from the beginning.
The gameplay for SOLO, DUO, and SPLITSCREEN modes is the same as in The Mercenaries Reunion with the benefit of having both previous mercenaries modes cast playable in one mode, while the announcer is randomized between Josh and Jill.
It includes the No Mercy mode (named Unlimited Mode in the Japanese version) which is based on the original, previously PC exclusive mode of the same name, which is currently only featured in the normal mercenaries mode only.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
The popularity of The Mercenaries minigame led to the spinoff title Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D which is the minigame expanded into a full game. The gameplay is most similar to Resident Evil 5 using the same melee prompts and weapons. The enemies and stages are mix of content from Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. The game is still played in stages but some stages feature certain changes. For example, some require a specific enemy to be killed, and some are played where enemies are fought in waves. While most stages simply require to play the game as you normally would a.k.a. achieve a high score by the time the time ends. All stages are altered and are smaller with areas cut off and unavailable for the player to access. Some stages feature a day and nighttime version of that particular stage. Some enemies appear in stages where they were never seen before. Example: Zealots appearing in Public Assembly.
The game features unlockable & equipable skills and the ability to equip a different characters weapon set via unlocking it by getting an A-rank or higher with the desired character. There is a special weapon set that can only be obtained by unlocking every characters weapon sets.
Resident Evil 6
Once again, the main purpose of The Mercenaries again in Resident Evil 6 is to accumulate a high score within a time limit without dying. Minor changes were made to expand upon the mode. The game is available from the start now and now features downloadable content stages.
Players can still earn bonus time by smashing time crystals and defeating enemies with melee attacks but killing an enemy with a Coup de grâce attack will add 7 seconds. With the new counter mechanic, killing an enemy with a counter-attack will add 10 seconds to the timer instead. Killing multiple enemies with a single melee attack simply adds together the time gained for each kill.
Enemy spawns are much more dynamic now. Rather than the same base enemy and occasional sub-boss spawning, enemies come in specific waves such as first zombies, then zombie dogs, then zombies with helmets, and so on. Enemies also become slightly more intelligent and stronger the closer the player gets to the 150 limit. In Mercenaries, enemies are programmed to spawn at maximum of 8, when player kill off one, one will respawn, but no more than 8.
Most notably, almost every zombie will attempt to leap onto the player towards the end of sessions. Certain enemies can also appear under certain conditions for example, achieving a certain combo number or higher will cause a certain type of enemy to appear, or achieving a certain score, or other factors.
Another important change is the inclusion of an equippable Skill. The player can pick one to either fit their gameplay style or compliment their character choice.
The game is also supported by RE.NET via online events. Players can also unlock additional costumes can by participating in certain events, however, the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Resident Evil 6 do not have RE.NET support.
No Mercy mode appears again on the PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo switch versions of the game, featuring a 300 enemies limit, more enemies on screen, and most notably, the cast of Left 4 Dead 2 as playable characters. The maximum spawn of No Mercy increases to 40 instead of 8. The mode is also present in the PS4 and Xbox One ports of the game.